Sun, sea, sand, and more tacos than you can shake a stick at. That pretty much sums up my visits to Sayulita. Cast your eyes 45 minutes up the coast from Puerto Vallarta and you’ll find yourself in the colorful flag lined streets of surf town Sayulita. While only a hop, skip and a jump from PV, the vibe could not be more different. If eating tacos in the street is more your jam than all-inclusive indulgence then it’s definitely worth a visit. I personally like to spend a few nights in both Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita to enjoy the best of both worlds. 3 nights is the perfect length getaway for me, hence the title of this post!
You can reach Sayulita a few different ways…
- Rent a car. Or, take my advice and NEVER even consider renting a car for more than a day in Mexico. Don’t do it. Don’t even let the thought enter your mind. After much back and forth at the car rental office we discovered our “$35 for the weekend” quote would actually set us back $350. So instead we went with…
- Uber! It has arrived in PV, and is officially the cheapest way to get around. Naturally the taxi drivers aren’t happy about it. Our ride cost us ~$20 from the airport. Although as of December 2017 you can get TO Sayulita via Uber, but not back again.
- Taxi fares can vary anywhere from $70 – $100 each way depending on your pick up and drop off points. While more expensive, they are great if you’re in a group of 4, have more than just carry-on bags, and are a fan of air conditioning. If you don’t need that first world extravagance then…
- Get friendly with the locals on the bus. You may even be treated to a performance involving clowns and balloons. You can pick it up from the Walmart next to the airport and it will cost you the lofty price of about $2. It will take you about 90 minutes but is definitely a way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Do not attempt if you have a lot of luggage.
WHERE TO STAY
In terms of where to stay, AirBnB is the way to go. However if hotels are more your cup of tea, you must MUST stay at Siete Lunas. A far cry from the goliaths of Puerto Vallarta, this boutique hotel has only 8 palapa style rooms nestled in the hills overlooking Playa Los Muertos. It’s quite the adventure to get there from town – golf carts are available for rent, although we definitely felt safer on foot! Get a room with an ocean view. You will not regret it. And if you can’t pull yourself away from the view, they’ll even order take out to be delivered up the hill for you!
If you want an infinity pool, hammocks, a fridge to keep your beers perfectly chilled, and the use of a toilet without having to walk down the stairs to your room, Villa Los Corales has the rooftop for you. We had a wonderful stay and David could not have been a better host. They are still completing work on the complex and it will eventually have 13 units. Perfect for a stay with friends. It’s a short walk downhill into town (and therefore a rather steep walk back!) but not impacted by the noise from the bars. Although we were awoken by a cockerel alarm both mornings and there are plenty of dogs barking. But you’re going to get that wherever you stay!
If you’re looking for the perfect place to sleep 3 couples, look no further than Casa Sonrisa. We spent a few nights in the palapa style penthouse, and our four friends shared the two bedroom apartment downstairs. There’s a communal pool for the whole place, but other than that the two units are completely separate. We could not believe how large our space was, complete with balcony overlooking the ocean – perfect for starting your night before heading into town.
WHERE TO EAT
I would highly recommend you try every single al pastor and fish taco on offer in Sayulita. On my most recent trip, our group of 6 all had different favorites. The only way to find yours… eat them all!
But two not miss spots are:
- Tacos El Ivan
- Try one of everything with al pastor
- Maria’s Taco Y Mariscos
- The clue is in the name – fish tacos for the win!
Previously we had loved The Real Fish Taco, but sadly it has gone down hill. Although they still make a killer margarita and are in prime location right by the beach.
You cannot leave Sayulita without eating at El Itacate. They serve burritos where instead of a tortilla you have melted cheese. MELTED. CHEESE. See evidence below.
Mary’s is a place I haven’t managed to try as yet, but have heard great things about their quesadillas and it’s always packed.
For those of you looking for a break from Mexican cuisine:
- Mamma Mia
- Italian that smells so good when you walk past you forget you’re in Mexico
- North Side Cafe
- Banana pancakes and a breakfast burrito that you won’t forget in a hurry. Their iced coffee has the reputation of being the best in town.
- Hot Churros
- The perfect way to finish your night before walking up the hill to your AirBnB. They usually set up camp on Av Revolucion by the river.
- The Cake Lady
- Typically in a similar spot to the Hot Churro stand if you’re looking for something other than deep fried sugary goodness.
- Chocolate covered frozen bananas. If that’s your thing.
- La Rustica
- Yummy brunch that feels like you could be eating in San Francisco. Chilaquiles with green sauce for the win.
- Great little coffee/breakfast spot
- Wakika Heladeria
- For when you need something sweet and frozen. I highly recommend the maracuya paleta (passionfruit popsicle).
- Orangy Juice Bar
- You’re going to need some green juice to wash down all that al pastor. This is the place to go!
I wouldn’t say there are any “oh my goodness you HAVE to go there” bars in Sayulita, but you won’t go wrong if you frequent any of the following:
- Estela Rooftop Bar
- Swings at the bar!
- El Barrilito
- Cool swivel bar stools in the street
- Don Pato
- Palmar Trapiche
- Brewery with eats
When you feel the need to walk off all the tacos and tequila (usually around day two for us…) you should head to the secret beach, otherwise known as Playa Carricitos. It’s a relatively short walk from the town, but is worlds away from the chaos of Playa Los Muertos and Sayulita Beach. Pack a few beers and follow the route laid out in the link. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset, but don’t stay too long unless you have headlamps!
I have mapped all my favorite Sayulita (and Puerto Vallarta) spots so you don’t have to. Access that map here and you’ll be well equipped to enjoy everything Sayulita has to offer!
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